While we were still trying to adjust to the first obstacle in Liam’s development, another one popped up when he was approaching age 4; which was more of a side effect of his strabismus, and that was his fine motor skills.
Liam wasn’t fond of colouring in or anything else which required the use of a crayon, paintbrush or pencil. Most of his work at school just had a faint line through the picture, which was his attempt at colouring in. When the children were asked to colour a picture, Liam would hold his tummy and tell his teacher that he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t do it.
His teacher advised us that he was very far behind the other children his age and told us that she thought Occupational Therapy could help him with his fine motor skills.
For a few months I was in complete denial. My thoughts were ‘well, he’s not going to get a job as a colouring in-ist, so why should I really be worried?’. Obviously I wasn’t thinking long term, like writing, hand muscle strength, lengthy test papers to write out when he’s older etc.
Soon, Liam’s teacher began telling us that she felt Liam was having trouble concentrating too, so we thought we’d better find help before more issues arose.
I got in touch with an Occupational Therapist in our area and she assessed Liam. She saw that he had trouble with pencil grip, which affected his pencil pressure, and he had trouble with other fine motor skills; he was also very easily distracted by sounds outside the therapy room, had trouble with planning and would lose focus easily. She got to work immediately and I have to say, her help was invaluable. She helped him so much during his sessions, helped us guide him with activities to do at home, and she was always available for me during many of my mommy-melt-downs after being called for a meeting with Liam’s teachers.
Liam had one 45 minute session in Occupational Therapy once a week for just under 3 years, and although he still doesn’t enjoy colouring-in, and we are still working on his handwriting, he isn’t as far behind as he would have been without the help of Occupational Therapy.
His Occupational Therapist gave us the tools to help him academically; she advised us what would help him in the classroom and provided us with the support I will forever be grateful for.